Theorem: We have an epic lineup for our April meetup.
Local developer and entrepreneur Tom Benson will start our April meetup with a technical and business-level description of Apple's Passbook. From Tom:
Passbook + Retail CRM = Interesting Opportunities for Mobile Developers
Apple released Passbook 6 months ago, and Google, Samsung (and maybe even Twitter) have released their own versions of mobile wallets. These systems are generally open platforms that allow a lot of developer leeway.
Most Passbook developers so far have stuck with pretty straightforward "tickets, boarding passes, gift cards, and coupons" model.
At Passjoy, we've tried something new with interesting results. We built a Passbook coupon service based on perpetual coupons -- coupons that replace themselves at regular intervals with new coupons, for retailers such as Macy's and Target. This is based on a poorly-understood but powerful ability by the Passbook system to update content on the passes after they get into customer wallets.
To power this, we developed a custom server that merges retail CRM functionality into Passbook server functionality. The system sends pre-scripted messages, new offers, new calls to action, and updated graphics to all the passes that have been distributed by our system.
Essentially Passbook passes now are treated not as disposable static documents, but as mini-webpages which are maintained for months or years in customer's phones.
Customer response has been quite positive "this is what we wanted from Passbook all along".
Customers wanted magical, active passes, and that's what we as Passbook vendors should give them. We're using this approach on coupons, but it has broad market application in loyalty cards, m-shopping, and gifting, and many other places.
For this presentation we'll give out a pass to those iPhone owners in the crowd who want to see it in their own phones. If Apple's push notification system is running fast, we'll be able to update those passes and you can see them change interactively as we present.
Passbook and it's Android equivalents are one of the fastest-evolving areas of mobile programming. There is enormous potential for mobile developers and mobile marketers to extend their audience reach by pairing Passbook coupons with native or web apps (Passbook passes, for example, can prompt customers to upgrade to a native app...thus acting as a great way to get more downloads for your apps!)
Then we'll have a word from our hosts. Elance is the leading platform for freelance coders (and many other specialties). We'll hear a brief presentation about how we can use Elance to hire and get hired, including several real developer stories. This would also be a great time for a round of applause to say thanks for the pizza.
3. Twitter Cards
Last week, Twitter made a big announcement at Twitter HQ. If you couldn't make it, we'll hear part of it again, and if you were there and have questions, bring them to help us dig deeper.
Reeve Thompson, product manager for Twitter cards, will be telling us about the new Cards feature that Twitter announced last week. It's a little bit of Passbook, a little bit of Microformats, and an exciting
new way to help apps spread virally.
4. Using Kii Cloud and in-app analytics to build great apps
Kii Cloud is a mobile backend-as-a-service that goes a few steps beyond the typical offerings. By also providing tools for analytics, monetization and even offering distribution channels and funding, Kii helps turn mobile app ideas into businesses.
Chris Beauchamp, Kii Cloud developer evangelist, will go over some key (ahem) utilities that can help us build apps, pivot, and succeed. Chris will focus on in-app analytics that go deeper than traditional analytics sources (Flurry, Google, etc).
Over the last five years, Chris has created iOS and Android applications that have accumulated over 10M downloads in the app stores. He's currently using this experience to build awesome tools for Kii Cloud.